THE DOCTRINE OF CHRIST [Part 2]
(Lesson 04 on Bible Doctrines)
- ANCIENT ERRORS CONCERNING THE DOCTRINE OF CHRIST
DOCETISM – In the late first century Marcion and other gnostics taught that Christ only appeared to be a man; therefore Docetism denied the humanity of Christ (cf. I John 1:1,2; 4:1-3).
EBIONISM – In the second century, this heresy denied the deity of Christ, much like the modern day Unitarians and other cults and liberals. "Ebionism was simply Judaism within the pale of the Christian church, and its denial of Christ’s Godhead was occasioned by an apparent incompatibility of this doctrine with monotheism" – Emery H. Bancroft, Christian Theology.
ARIANISM – Arius was an elder in the church at Alexandria in Egypt in the fourth century. He denied the deity of Christ as well as His eternal generation from the Father. His error was condemned at the Council of Nicea in 325.
APOLLINARIANISM – Apollinarius was the pastor of the church at Laodicea in the fourth century. He denied that Christ had a complete human nature, arguing that since Christ was sinless He could not have possessed a human soul. This strange heresy was condemned at the Council of Constantinople in 381.
NESTORIANISM – Nestorius was the pastor of the church at Constantinople in the fourth century. He denied the unique personality of Christ by separating His two natures and inventing two distinct persons. This heresy was condemned at the Council of Ephesus in 431.
EUTYCHIANISM – Eutyches (c. 378-454) reacted against Nestorianism and taught that there was only one nature in Christ. To him the divine nature was not fully divine, nor was the human nature genuinely human, resulting in a mixed single nature. This error was condemned at the Council of Chalcedon in 451.
- MODERN ERRORS CONCERNING THE DOCTRINE OF CHRIST
- JEHOVAH’S WITNESSES – This cult teaches that Jesus Christ is not Jehovah God, but "the first son that Jehovah God brought first," in other words a created being. They teach that Michael the archangel and Jesus Christ are the same person.
- MORMONISM – "By obedience and devotion he attained to the pinnacle of intelligence which ranked him as a God, even in his pre-existent state."
- ARMSTRONGISM – "Before Jesus was conceived by Mary, he was not the Son of God."
- JOHN MacARTHUR – "He (Christ) simply assumed the title and role of Son when He came into the world at His birth."
- CHRISTIAN SCIENCE – "Jesus is the human man and Christ is the divine idea."
- SPIRITUALISM – "Jesus Christ was indeed the Son of God, as also we are sons of God."
- TRANSCENDENTAL MEDITATION – "I don’t think Christ ever suffered or Christ could suffer" – Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, founder of "TM."
- UNIFICATION CHURCH (aka "Moonies") – "Rev. Moon" teaches that Jesus Christ failed and that Moon is the new Messiah.
- ISLAM – The Koran repeatedly emphasizes that Jesus Christ is not the Son of God. To Muslims, Jesus was only one of Allah’s endless prophets or messengers. They are adamantly opposed to the deity of Christ.
- ONENESS PENTECOSTAL – They deny the Trinity and teach that the Father and Son are one and the same person (cf. Matt.3:16,17).
- CHARISMATIC MOVEMENT – Kenneth Hagin teaches that every Christian "is as much an incarnation (of God) as is Jesus of Nazareth" (Word of Faith magazine, December 1977). Kenneth Copeland claims that "Jesus is no longer the only begotten Son of God" (these quotes are from Walter Martin, The Agony of Deceit, Michael Horton, editor, pp. 100, 101). In Copeland’s Believer’s Voice of Victory magazine, February, 1987 issue, he states that the Lord Jesus Christ spoke to him and said: "Don’t be disturbed when people accuse you of thinking you are God…They criticized me for claiming I was God. But I didn’t claim that I was God; I just claimed I walked with Him and that He was in me. Hallelujah, that’s what you’re doing."
- UNITY CULT – "Jesus was not the Christ. By Christ is not meant the man Jesus."
- LIBERALISM – To many Protestant and Roman Catholic ministers, Jesus Christ was a great teacher, but not the sinless Son of God. Most liberals reject the deity of Christ, His virgin birth, His substitutionary atonement, His resurrection, etc. They preach "another Jesus" (II Cor.11:3,4).
- UNITARIANISM – Unitarianism unequivocally denies the doctrine of the Trinity, the deity of Christ, as well as every other fundamental Bible doctrine.
- SEVENTH-DAY ADVENTISTS – Ellen G. White taught that Christ took upon Himself a polluted sinful nature. "He took upon His sinless nature our sinful nature" (Medical Ministry, p. 181). Though many Adventists today reject this teaching, her writings are still considered inspired. Furthermore, Adventists teach that Christ could have sinned but He did not.
- SCIENTOLOGY – "You will find the cross as a symbol all over the universe, and the Christ legend as an implant in preclears (members of Scientology cult) a million years ago."
- ROMAN CATHOLICISM – The official R.C. position on the deity of Christ, His blood atonement, His bodily resurrection, etc. are Scriptural. However, by elevating Mary to "the Queen of Heaven," and "the Mother of God," they are giving preeminence to her instead of to Christ. "That in all things he might have the preeminence" (Col.1:18). Furthermore, their exaltation of the pope ("Holy Father," "His Holiness," the "Vicar of Christ," et al) is dishonoring to God.